The most watched draft in NFL History, for obvious reasons, is now over. The first round on Thursday night drew over 15.6 million viewers. While the draft may have been held virtually, rather than in Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, fans from all over the world still tuned to see the new crop of players get drafted into the league.
The NFL Draft was the first live, sports-related event from the four major American-based sport leagues. It provided sports fans a chance to get away from everything else going on in the world.
While many of the top prospects and future stars were picked in the first round, there were still great players with huge hobby upside taken in the remaining six rounds of the draft.
We’ve highlighted some of the players we think landed in the best position to achieve success in the league and reach hobby relevance.
*Please note that players are listed by draft position and not the likelihood of reaching success in the hobby. *
Michael Pittman, Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts – 2nd Round (34th Overall)
The Colts got a potential impact wide receiver with the 2nd pick of the 2nd round. He’s got a stud number 1 receiver in front of him that’s should be able to teach him the ropes in T.Y. Hilton. Hilton should draw a lot of the defense’s attention allowing Pittman Jr. to thrive with new Colt’s quarterback Phillip Rivers. We could see him ascend to a perennial Pro-Bowler in this offense.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions – 2nd Round (35th Overall)
Swift lives up to his name and possesses 4.48 speed. He’s a runner capable of breaking it outside or running between the tackles and has solid hands. His versatility and explosiveness should make him a valuable contributor in Detroit. With last year’s starter Kerryon Johnson having a long injury history it should not be too long before Swift is the featured back in Detroit.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts – 2nd Round (41st Overall)
The Colts selection of Taylor with the 9th pick of the second round added another big weapon to a much improved Colts offense. Taylor was ultra-productive during his time at the University of Wisconsin and we should see that productivity transfer to the NFL. Incumbent back Marlon Mack rushed for 1,000 yards last year, and there’s no reason to think Taylor won’t challenge that mark this year.
Laviska Shenault, Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars – 2nd Round (42nd Overall)
Shenault, Jr. was one of the the darlings of the pre-draft process. Analysts loved him and his fit with the Jaguars is great. He’s a strong receiver with really good hands and that is something the Jags roster was lacking. He is someone we can expect Gardner Minshew to develop a great relationship with and could be a huge weapon for the team as the season progresses.
KJ Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos – 2nd Round (46 Overall)
While Jerry Jeudy may be the headliner of this year’s Broncos draft, Hamler may be the best value. He gives the Broncos and Drew Lock an absolute weapon in the slot and will benefit from the attention Jeudy and Courtland Sutton draw.
Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams – 2nd Round (52nd Overall)
The Rams had a big need at running back heading into the draft after cutting Todd Gurley. Akers was one of the more underrated backs in this class. He’s helpful in both the rushing and passing game thanks to his size/speed combination. Look for him to take over the starting role during the season and we could see him providing big numbers during the second half of the season.
Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets – 2nd Round (59th Overall)
The talented wide receiver out of Baylor has a great speed/size combo. He adds a potential high-end weapon to the Jets and should be able to gain the trust of Sam Darnold early on. If Mims ends up playing to the higher side of his projections in the New York market he has a legitimate chance to be a huge star in the collecting world.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Tampa Bay Bucs – 3rd Round (76th Overall)
Vaughn, the talented runner from Vanderbilt, lands in an amazing situation. The Bucs offense is so loaded with weapons that it will be hard for teams to key on the run. Vaughn has the added value of being a very able receiver out of the backfield. Don’t be surprised if he sees the field very early on and gains Tom Brady’s trust with his pass blocking skills as well.
Devin Duvernay, WR, Baltimore Ravens – 3rd Round (92 Overall)
The University of Texas product is one of the best slot receivers in the draft. He could truly thrive playing in an offense that is designed for the run, either designed run plays or Lamar Jackson improvising. Jackson has shown a tendency to lean on his Tightends and Duvernay will give him a slot option. Duvernay’s elite speed should help Jackson get rid of the ball earlier and with big play potential.
Adam Trautman, TE, New Orleans Saints – 3rd Round (105th Overall)
Trautman may not make an immediate impact on the field as he’s paired with veteran Jared Cook. However, Drew Brees will love having this highly productive option on the field, especially in the Red Zone. The 6’5″ is great on 50-50 balls and his quickness should allow him to get some separation on goal-line plays.
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Denver Broncos – 4th Round (118th Overall)
One of Drew Lock’s favorite targets at the University of Missouri, Okwuegbunam joins him in Denver. Lock has no excuses for not building on his successful 2019 season as John Elway spent the offseason loading up the offense with options for him. Okwuegbunam possess elite speed at the tight end position and could be a great option touchdown threat.
La’Mical Perine, RB, New York Jets – 4th Round (120th Overall)
Perine has long struck me as a back that would be better in the NFL than he was in college. He’s also above-average pass catcher which will be helpful to young signal-caller Sam Darnold. Perine will be a clear backup to Le’Veon Bell this season. However, if Bell goes down Perine could step in and provide a huge boost to the Jets offense.
Jacob Eason, QB, Indianapolis Colts – 4th Round (122nd Overall)
Eason slid in the draft but may have found himself in a better situation due to it. With Phillip Rivers on 1 year deal and Jacoby Brissett’s contract ending after this season, Eason may be the only quarterback on the roster come this offseason. Eason has excellent size and great arm strength, something Coach Frank Reich could mold into an eventual NFL starter.
DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seattle Seahawks – 4th Round (144th Overall)
Dallas joins another Hurricanes running back (Travis Homer) in the Seahawks backfield. He’s a tough runner who shows signs of a burst that can lead to big plays. As an added bonus, he’s a former wide-receiver who catches well out of the backfield.
Tyler Johnson, WR, Tampa Bay Bucs – 5th Round (161st Overall)
The Bucs got Tom Brady another weapon in the 5th Round. He has the chance to be a steal and is a great route runner. While he doesn’t have top-end speed, he was one of the most productive wide receivers in college over the past two seasons. He feels like a wideout that Brady could really unlock the value in.
K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings – 5th Round (176th Overall)
Osborn is a great route runner and has a knack for getting open. He may not have been as big of a prospect heading into the draft due to playing three season at the University of Buffalo, Osborn was arguably the Hurricanes most important player last season. He gives Kirk Cousins another solid option.
James Proche, WR, Baltimore Ravens – 6th Round (201st Overall)
Much like Devin Duvernay, picked in the 3rd Round, the Ravens added another weapon that Lamar Jackson can use to exploit defenses. Proche is less flashy than Duvernay, but is a consistent, reliable receiver that could earn Jackson’s trust and become his go to receiver.
Dezmon Patmon, WR, Indianapolis Colts – 6th Round (212th Overall)
Patmon could be a real steal. He’s had some issues catching the ball, but has a true speed/size blend that makes him a vertical threat. Having Phillips Rivers as his QB may be able to help him develop quickly.
K.J. Hill, WR, Los Angeles Chargers – 7th Round (220th Overall)
With Tyrod Taylor starting the season as the quarterback Hill could be a solid contributor. He’s a tough-as-nails slot receiver that has always been a high character, team leader. At Ohio State last season he had 57 catches and 10 touchdowns. His long-term potential is also high as he has the ability to develop a solid rapport with future starter Justin Herbert.
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona Cardinals – 7th Round (222nd Overall)
Benjamin may have fallen in the draft due to his testing at the NFL Combine. He was productive at Arizona State University and although a little undersized, he could be a three-down back. With the trade of David Johnson to the Houston Texans, the starter heading in to the season is Kenyan Drake. It’s possible we could see Benjamin splitting time with Drake by mid-season and even becoming the starter.
Tommy Stevens, QB, New Orleans Saints – 7th Round (240th Overall)
The Saints got one of the more interesting QB prospects in the draft in the 7th Round. While Stevens may not see the field much this season, his game very strongly resembles Taysom Hill’s. Stevens’ athleticism gives Sean Payton another multi-threat weapon that will make the Saints offense even harder to gameplan for. The Mississippi State signal caller who transferred from Penn State should see pretty heavy interest in his cards this season.
Malcolm Perry, WR/RB, Miami Dolphins – 7th Round (246th Overall)
Perry, was supposedly a favorite of Bill Belichick in the pre-draft process, adds some explosion and versatility to the Dolphins draft. After taking Tua Tagovailoa with the 5th Overall pick, the Dolphins spent much of their draft collateral on improving their offensive line and the defensive side of the ball. Perry may not have a set position, but the former Navy quarterback can be a weapon if offensive coordinator Chan Gailey can scheme some special packages for him
Tyrie Cleveland, WR, Denver Broncos – 7th Round (252nd Overall)
Yet another receiving weapon for Drew Lock, Cleveland showed flashes while at the University of Florida. Cleveland may not excel in any one aspect, but if he can crack the line-up he has the skillset to earn some relevancy in the collecting world.
Did we miss your favorite sleeper prospect? Leave us a comment and tell us who you like!